Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Singer 201-2

Singer 201-2 01

This is my "new" 1947 Singer 201-2. Let me be the first to say that since my last sewing machine post I have totally lost track of how many machines are in my collection! So, ummm...maybe this makes 18 or 20...but maybe it's better if I just stop counting.

I purchased this machine from a thrift store a couple of months ago. When I bought it I could tell that the machine itself probably worked, but the wiring was a complete mess of shredded wire, rubber, and tape. And although it came in what was probably the original cabinet, it was also a mess and looked like it had been dropped out of a truck. But, I can't stand to see an old girl suffer, so I took her home with me.

Singer 201-2 02
 
I took the 201-2 out of that old wrecked cabinet and set it aside for rewiring. I finally (finally!) got my husband to help me re-wire the 201-2 over this weekend, and as luck would have it she fits EXACTLY in my extra cabinet. This cabinet originally housed an old Pfaff 130, but the machine never quite worked right and I got rid of it last year. I then fit tmy Singer 319W in this cabinet and sewed with it for almost a year. But, I decided to part with the 391W a few months ago which left this cabinet looking for a new partner. If you are still trying to keep count with me that would be minus 2 machines and plus one!
 
Singer 201-2 03

So let me tell you about this machine! It is so smooth, so quiet (compared to some of the other vintage machines), and sews so awesome - I am in love! There is lots of information already out there about the 201 which is considered by many collectors to be the best vintage machine made. This model was manufactured as a higher end machine for seamstresses, sold at the same time as its little sister the Singer 15-91 (and I had one of those to, but sold it last year - are you still keeping count?). It has a larger harp than other household models manufactured at the same time, and is powered directly by a gear drive instead of a belt. Read a nice write-up of the 201 at the Sew-Classic Blog, read a great article about the 201 that includes some fun vintage ads from Sewalot.com, and download a PDF of the 201-2 manual from ISMACS.


My 201 came with lots of accessories including a 1947 buttonhole attachment, plenty of extra bobbins, a box of little accessory feet. I immediately ordered a walking foot and 1/4" piecing foot to go along with this machine, and I cannot wait to start quilting with this baby!


I started moving stuff around once I got the 201 in the cabinet, and it really does make this little corner of my sewing room complete. I love the way this cabinet closes up when not in use - especially the chair that pushes all the way in to look like the front of the cabinet. Good luck getting me out of the sewing room, I'm going back to playing with my new toy!

28 comments:

threedresses said...

What a beautiful machine!

smazoochie said...

100 Singer Karma points for you! What a beauty! And the cabinet is adorable!

Michelle said...

It's beautiful, and I love your room and the quilt too!

Madame Samm said...

I really like this...your collection, your post and yes that cabinet..perfectly suited for your craft

The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

Hope you're liking your 201 as much as I like mine! I picked mine up for five bucks about 6 years ago at a yard sale. She sews through anything. So glad you rescued this old lady!

Miss Sews-it-all said...

This machine does indeed sew like a dream! In fact, it sews so smoothly that when I take my foot off the go pedal, it just keeps on going. I can tell this is the start of a long and beautiful freindship!

Tony said...

Where did you get the cabinet? Or if the plans?

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hello Tony, as I mentioned in my post, that cabinet originally housed a vintage Pfaff 130. I purchased the Pfaff in the cabinet from a thrift store a few years ago. I have seen one or two other photos online of vintage Pfaff 130's in the same type of cabinet, so I assume it was an option offered from Pfaff. I don't have any other information on the cabinet, hope this helps!

Mama Spark said...

I just found one of these at the local thrift shop and they are asking $119. good deal??

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hi Mama Spark, it's not easy to say online, as there are a lot of factors that affect pricing. The overall condition of the machine, if it has the original manual and accessories with it, and what kind of box or cabinet it is in and your location will all affect the price. Collecting vintage machines is a lot like collecting art; only buy what you like, and if the price feels fair to YOU then it is probably good. If the price seems too steep, try to bargain or keep looking.

Rowan Anderson said...

My first 201, a 1954 201k23, is being delivered on Monday, and I'm all nervous and excited all at once. Actually, she's not just my first 201, this is the first sewing machine I've ever bought. (Up until now I've been using my mothers janome, but I wanted something with a bigger harp space) She's coming back to Scotland, where she was made, albeit on the opposite coast. People's fondness and praise for these machines seems bottomless, and if she's even half as good as you guys all say, I don't think it will be long before others start following me home. :-)

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Rowan, that is fabulous and congrats on your soon to arrive 201! Yes, you will love it, and I'm sure it won't be too long before you find a few others to bring home and keep your 201 company. ;-)

Robert said...

I have 2, 201-2s. One is 1941 and the other 1950. In my business I use them for sewing patches on biker vests and doing leather repair. This is a strong machine and I love them. I used to use my mothers 1929, 66-6, but no reverse. My wife collects the Singer Model 20 and 24s. We have about 30 Singers.

Madeline2009 said...

Found my 201 while looking for a sewing machine cabinet - it was in a beautiful art-deco cabinet. Further research revealed I had hit the jackpot! It needs a good cleaning and oiling, no attachments were with it. As luck would have it all of the attachments from my Featherweight 221 are interchangeable. Doesn't get any better than that. Can't wait to get it ready for a winter of sewing.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

That's awesome Madeline2009! I hope you enjoy sewing on your 201, they really are great machines!

MyFaireLady said...

She's a beauty! I just got a model 201-2 myself, she's in need of a little cleaning, but I'm excited to have her. Here's to vintage sewing machines!!!

P.S. Love the quilt hanging behind her...

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hi MyFaireLady! I hope you enjoy your 201 as much as I do mine - it sews like butter! Thanks for the nice comment about my quilt, too! :-)

Rachel said...

I have my grandmother's 1938 201-2. She's a bit finicky, but works like a dream. The original cabinet is in excellent shape also, so I can use the foot pedal with the knee bar feature in the cabinet.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hi Rachel, that is fabulous! Happy stitching with your grandma's vintage Singer!

Kristen Spence said...

I am looking to buy this machine for myself. I love it! Its pretty and durable. Vintage is good! I love your cute cabinet too. I am wondering if you would be able to direct me to a place to purchase the manual on it.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hi Kristen! If you look in the post, I've added a link to a free PDF download to the 201-2 manual from ISMACS!

Anonymous said...

Hello, My wife and I have a Singer 201 and a cabinet for it, I believe I have all the parts needed to put the machine in the cabinet correctly, I just have no idea how to do that. Can anyone help with instructions, video, pics, anything that can help! Thanks, L_peterson@comcast.net

dwasifar said...

My wife and I happened upon a Singer 201-2 in a state of sad neglect at a thrift shop recently and bought it for $22.50, with no knowledge of what it was or what it was actually worth. Here is what it looked like when we got it home:

http://www.xec.net/singer-before.jpg

And here it is now, after giving both the machine and the cabinet some restoration work:

http://www.xec.net/singer-after.jpg

In the process I found out a lot about the history of this fine machine and now I feel like we won the lottery. I have never seen a consumer product with such robust engineering and high build quality. It sews perfectly.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hey dwasifar, that is fantastic! They are wonderful machines, and you got a real deal on that one. Happy stitching!
-Erika

Linny said...

Hi, I have a question, I have both the singer Model 15-91 and 201-2, I like the fact that the stitch on the 201 truly varies and the bigger stitches are basting stitches, while the 15-91's largest stitch is still a very tight stitch. But my 201-2 is not as fast as the 15-91. Is that normal? Thanks, Linny

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hi Linny, both the 15-91 and the 201 use the same motor assembly, so they should technically sew at about the same speeds. Troubleshooting a slow machine includes making sure that it is cleaned and oiled properly, that the wiring is all in good shape, and that the motor is in good working order. Sometimes a motor can be slowed down by dirt, dust, or have worn out parts inside (brushes). If you find that everything else on the machine is working well, it is probably the motor - and you might look for a repair person to look at it for you. Best of luck!

Blindsay said...

Need you advice. I just purchased a Singer 201 today at a secondhand shop. I checked the serial number and it was allotted on March 17, 1937. It appears to be in fairly good shape. The machine was in a portable carrying case and I am interested in trying to find a cabinet for it. Will any type of sewing cabinet work or does it need a certain size opening? Just wondering where to begin my search for a cabinet. Also, no attachments were included. Do you know where to purchase the attachments for a 201.?

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hi Blindsay, congrats on your new 201! You can visit the ISMACS Singer Dating page to use your machine's serial number to find the date of allocation: http://www.ismacs.net/singer_sewing_machine_company/serial-numbers/singer-sewing-machine-serial-number-database.html Click on the letter designation first, then search for the number. Yes, you will have to search for a cabinet that will fit the Singer 201, so measure the bed of the machine carefully as well as where the screw holes are to attach the machine to the cabinet. You will probably have better luck sticking with Singer cabinets. I found a Pfaff cabinet for my 201, but the opening and the mounting pins were in the wrong place, and had to have a carpenter customize the cabinet for me. You can find both vintage and reproduction feet and accessories for this machine by simple searching on the internet. Best of luck!